A Partial Victory for NDP
According to an NDP recent press release received by The Voice on April 22, 2005, Alexa McDonough, Advanced Education Critic for the NDP, said in the house of commons: “Mr. Speaker, during the 2004 election the Prime Minister promised to reinvest $8 billion, which he in fact had cut, back into post-secondary education core funding. In a spectacular betrayal, the 2005-06 budget did not contain a red cent toward keeping that promise. Another promise made, another promise broken, with disastrous consequences.”
I expect she’s feeling a little better now that Prime Minister Martin has agreed to scrap the corporate tax cut and instead devote that money to social programs. True, the 1.5 billion that will be going toward tuition reduction (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20050427.wxelection27/BNStory/National/) in the provinces is not that close to 8 billion, but it’s a lot better than the nothing that was originally planned for in this budget.
What’s sad is that it takes the threat of the Liberal government toppling for them to even partially live up to their campaign promises.
Non-Canadian students visiting our universities will now have a slightly easier time of it thanks to a change in Federal legislation. Unlike the recent agreement for tuition reduction, this change happened outside of the deal with the NDP.
The legislation change basically allows international students to work off campus (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20050427.wxelection27/BNStory/National/) while in Canada. Previously, an international student visa did not grant that freedom. International students were expected to only work on campus, if at all. Given that international students already pay a huge premium for the privilege of attending our post-secondary institutions, giving them more opportunity to work while they’re here certainly can’t hurt. Who knows, it may encourage more students from abroad, which only serves to help a university’s bottom line through the tuition differential.
New Brunswick Tax Break
For students in New Brunswick, the province has come up with a new program that hopes to encourage them to stick around after completing their education. 50% of every dollar a New Brunswick student spends on tuition can now be used as a provincial tax credit (http://www.gnb.ca/cnb/news/fin/2005e0418fn.htm), up to a total credit of $10,000.00. This credit can be rolled over for up to 20 years from the time the student first starts to use it. This is in addition to the standard tax credits that students already receive on their federal and provincial post-secondary education expenses.
The catch, of course, is that it only applies to the provincial tax. Leave the province and that credit is worthless.
Of course, if students leave the province because there’s nobody there to hire them, I guess a tax credit doesn’t make much difference. Fortunately, if New Brunswick succeeds in attracting the jobs, they’ll have already established a fairly cheap method to ensure those employers have access to a skilled pool of graduates.